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A step in the right direction for Bone Awl - 75%

iamntbatman, November 22nd, 2009

Bone Awl's second split release with Furdidurke recycle's the latter's contribution to the earlier split but introduces a new Bone Awl song entitled "Green As He Walks". Bone Awl's return to their usual blackened punk shtick is much welcome after the misstep that was Undying Glare, even if "Green As He Walks" is far from their best song. Furdidurke's contribution is also pretty enjoyable, if not mind-blowing.

"Green As He Walks" marks a first for Bone Awl: the song actually features guitar and bass that can easily told apart, thanks to a bass guitar that sounds like it's being fingered rather than played with a pick, is relatively free of the growly, overdriven sort of character that usually characterizes Bone Awl basslines, and doesn't sound like it's playing power chords, for once. That being said, the clear, audible and even smooth bass on this song kind of made me pine for the old Bone Awl sound as this is pretty pedestrian by comparison. The riffs are a return to Bone Awl's punkier roots and abandons the dissonant black metal tremolo workouts that made up the majority of Undying Glare. Unfortunately, the riffs aren't quite up to par with the catchy quality we're used to and are repeated a bit too much before changing to something else, which makes them a bit on the irritating side (but still leagues from being unlistenable or outright boring). The drumming also returns to the basic punk bashing of Ye Olde Bone Awle, abandoning the blastbeat hell of Undying Glare, which is appreciated. The vocals are the more-than-solid unhinged screams we're used to and are as good as ever on "Green As He Walks." Finally, the production, while not quite the lo-fi perfection of earlier releases, is also much improved over the clipping, obnoxious job on Undying Glare.

The Furdidurke contribution to the split is the same lamely-titled song from their previous split with Bone Awl, "Main Song". This is some pretty darn raw black metal that finds a strange balance between the sort of punk energy that bands like Bone Awl play and a decidedly more bleak, almost melancholy atmosphere, playing something that makes an effort to be pretty rather than purposefully ugly. The riffs are pretty simple chord progressions, strummed in a pretty basic way, but they have a strong sense of melody. There isn't a bass guitar on this song (that I can hear, anyway). The drumming is propulsive and high in the mix, using a basic punk beat throughout most of the song but switching to a straightforward rock beat at about 3:30 into the song, which marks a transition to the more bleak ending section to the song. The vocals are quite good, in the middle range as far as black metal vocals go, but the vocalist has a strong set of pipes that allow for some nice, drawn out screams. If you're interested in raw black metal with a noticeable post-punk influence, this song is definitely worth checking out, though it does tend to drag a bit.

This is a far cry from the best thing Bone Awl have released, but it's not bad, either. If you're a huge fan of the band, this split is worth seeking out because the Bone Awl track is exclusive to this release. The Furdidurke song is also a pretty good track, although it's the only thing I've heard by the band so I can't say with any authority whether it's representative of Furdidurke or even if it's a good song in comparison to their other material. This is far from essential, but is decent enough.